|| Pies. Peas. Mash ||

On a rainy day in Newcastle there's nothing better than some classic hearty food to warm your soul up from the British summer showers. What better than good old pie and mash? I'm not talking any old mince pie though.

The Redhouse, situated on the Quayside of Newcastle, offers a range of pies, mash, peas and liquor to top your pie off. From classic steak pie to a little more adventurous chicken, chorizo and sweet potato, all the meat is from a local Northumbrian butcher in Amble and cased around is some loving handmade pastry.

Once you've chosen your pie you choose your mash. Creamy, cheesy, with a dash of mustard or a hint of garlic, there's a mash for all tastes. For me, there's nothing better than cheesy mash! 

Alongside your pie and mash you obviously have to have a healthy dose of peas. Mushy, minted or if you're feeling something a little different how about some pease pudding? Again, I'm going with the classic mushy. Nowt better.

Finally, to round of your beautiful dish you choose your liquor. No, I'm not talking about a shot of vodka on the side. (However, they do have an amazing range of local beers to choose from) I'm talking about gravy liquor. Classic meat gravy, parsley or red wine. A sauce for every pie.

If you want some rainy day hearty food or an alternative to your classic roast on a Sunday head to Redhouse for some bloody good pie and mash!

|| Leeds to Liverpool Canal Trip ||

There's nothing more I love in life than a little family adventure. Full of laughs and more laughs with the people I hold closest to my heart. A few years back we hired two canal boats in Skipton, near Leeds, to go along the canal to Leeds and stop for a little boat picnic along the way. Obviously you only get the boat until about 4pm unless you've hired it for the weekend, which there are options available to do so, but in the time between 9am and 3pm you can roughly make it to half way to Keighley. 

It's a gorgeous little adventure. We all take turns in driving the boat, which in all honesty isn't actuall that hard to do! If you want my advice, turn the handle the opposite way of which you want to actually go.

Normally, because my family is quite large, we hire two boats. A larger canal boat and a smaller one. This time we all squeezed onto one larger one. There's a job and kettle for your cups of tea and seats inside for if it gets a little chilly. All the boats have super cute pair names, good old Rosie and Jim, Bill and Ben.

It's a lovely little day out and the views are stunning. I sometimes think life would be easier if I lived on a canal boat. Unfortunely the other half will not allow my dream! 

How can there be a song about ugly ducklings?! Signets are gorgeous. They look so fluffy rather than being feathery. Maybe they grow into their feathers like Dalmatians grow into their spots?

Rosie & Jim. A classic canal pairing.
There's even a canal ice cream and tea boat!! It's literally the dream life. Count me in for moving onto a canal boat.

It's so nice to escape the city and sit back with a cup of tea and a book once in a while. I'd say we had escaped the hustle and bustle but there was a main road next to the canal along some of the way.

My guy. He's the cutest. I'm biased but so.

Again, gorgeous creatures. However, they can be quite viscous. We were sat trying to eat some of our lunch and the mother did keep trying to attack us. They did enjoy a M&S fruit scone though. 

If you haven't been on a canal boat do it. It's bloody great. 

|| A mask for every face ||

I'm a little late on testing out the H&M beauty range that re-launched in summer 2015. Considering I live in a big UK city my local H&M does not stock it. On a random day trip to Sunderland I thought I'd pop into their store to see what clothes they had and out the corner of my eye I spotted the gold packaging of the new beauty range. I couldn't have ran over quick enough, as if there was a cream cake at the finish line.

I picked up a few essentials to try out, matte nude eye quad, still to test yet and a couple of single eye shadows on which I will do a post on soon because I'm majorly impressed. 

What I was more interested to try out was the skin care range. I picked up five different face masks, two of which I accidentally picked the same. 

My skin is probably oily to combination in places but I'm pretty prone to blemishes on my chin which are a bloody nightmare, sore and just awful to cover. Trying to reduce risk to them is key to my cleansing routine when taking make up off on a night especially. It's sometimes nice to give your skin the benefits of a face mask and the ingredients which are in them that your skin wouldn't usually be exposed to otherwise.

Top left we have charcoal and volcanic soil, a pore cleansing face mask with sea salt for blemish prone skin. From research on the two main ingredients of this particular mask, charcoal can absorb up to 200 times it's weight in impurities, which makes it an excellent natural ingredient to help purify the skin and give a deep cleanse to leave your skin super clean. Charcoal is an ingredient which helps to draw out the toxins, particularly good when you cake make up on your skin and expose your skin daily to different chemicals which you can't seem whether it be from the air or your surroundings you are in. The second main ingredient of volcanic soil has some amazing properties you wouldn't expect. Volcanic soil is has anti-bacterial qualities to it, great for helping blemish prone skin. It is also high in sulphur, something you wouldn't expect to be kind or good to your skin, but sulphur is an active mineral ingredient which helps to resist bacteria and actually even destroy bacteria on the skin. As with the deep cleansing from the charcoal, sulphur helps to protect against the toxic effects of pollution and radiation. The little sea salt beads within the clay looking mask will help to exfoliate the skin and regenerate new skin cells. 

Bottom left we have the witch hazel cleansing face mask with rosemary and tea leaf for oily skin. As I said my skin type ranges from dry to oily to combination but I tend to get oily like most around my t-zone area, more so my nose. Witch hazel properties for the skin are widely known throughout the beauty world. The bark and leaves of the witch hazel plant contain catechol tannin which acts as an effective astringent for cleansing skin as well as being a disinfectant, with anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties, a slightly less harsh alternative to salicyclic acid. It also helps to reduce oil in the skin, you can feel this as sometimes I have found with witch hazel that the skin will feel slightly tighter as it dries out from frequent use of it. Rosemary, who knew this roasting chicken ingredient would be good for the skin? Not me. Anti-inflammatory like witch hazel, rosemary also increases skins elasticity, a benefit to combat premature ageing. It is also known to protect skin from sun damage.

Top right we have the liquorice and sugar mask, an exfoliating face mask with sweet almond oil for oily skin. This mask is perfect for the pamper nights where you really want to exfoliate your skin and clear all the weeks sh*t off it. Liquorice as a natural element has a mild soothening and brightening action. It helps aid the process of fading hyper pigmentation and sun damage. The usage of this on the skin leaves you with much brighter, hydrated and clearer skin. The sugar in this is a gentle exfoliant that will rid you of excess skin and brighten your skin. Almond oil is a mild hypoallergenic meaning it's kind to your skin if you're prone to sensitivity, it is light in texture and can penetrate deep into the skin to help soften the skin and dislodge the dirt that is in your skin pores. By getting rid of the crap in your skin you help to prevent blackheads and blemishes. The vitamin A also helps reduce flare ups. 

Last and not least bottom right we have the spearmint and echinacea purifying peel off mask with gentian root extract for blemish prone skin. So far this is the only one I have tried and tested as I bought duplicate by accident.

First let's gown down to the nitty gritty of what benefits and actions the ingredients have on your skin. Spearmint leaves a refreshing feeling to your skin and acts as an anti-pruritic agent. This means that it can soothe and calm skin that's itchy or infected. In simple terms it's great for helping to speed up the process of your spots healing. The vitamin A in spearmint also helps to stregthen skin tissue and reduce oily areas. Spearmint has a high content of salicyclic acid to loosen skin cells to boost regeneration and prevent further pores from clogging up in the future, leaving you with fewer pimples and clearer skin. Echinacea has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. To help every stage of that blemish cycle. It will help reduce further blemish breakouts, calm any that do occur and help recover the skin. Gentian offers glow and health to the skin indirectly. It helps produce more nutrient intake into your skin. So if your skin is looking a little dull give this a go to bring back that radiant and healthy looking skin.

This mask you are recommended to leave on for about 20 minutes in order for it to dry and peel off. The spearmint leaves a slightly tingly sensation on your skin. In my honest opinion I had this face mask on for a good 40 minutes and it was still ridiculously sticky and hard to peel off in large segments. I ended up just getting a wipe to take it off. Maybe I was a little too impatient but who knows. My skin felt super fresh after, possibly not the best one to use before bed but if you're having a lazy Sunday morning give your skin a little refresh with this mask while you drink a cup of tea and watch Sunday Brunch. 

I hope some of this information has been helpful to you. Even if you can't get your hands on the mask you can look out for some of these key ingredients to help better your skin.

Follow my twitter @lauraconveryxo to keep updates when I use others or hit me up with your thoughts on them! 

|| The Sunday Post ||

Sunday, everyone's favourite day of the week, comes around slowly yet goes so quickly. A day of food, relaxation or adventuring into the unknown.

What better way to start a Sunday than with the classic full English and a pot of tea. The most perfect poached eggs and seeded buttery toast. Can I hear an amen? All from my favourite little haunt in Darlington, Imperial Express. Check it out if you're in the area.

So, it's less than two months until I head off to the beautiful Greek Island if Santorini. Blue skies, blue tipped buildings and glistenining blue seas. I'm trying my best to health kick myself up the butt to get some sort of a 'beach' ready body. Blueberries, super healthy and lovely with yoghurt. One my all time easy yummy breakfasts to make. Pot of yoghurt and a handful of fruit. Wish me luck on the trek for my beach body.

Nandos. Not much more to be said than that. Chickeny goodness. Is it bad that we had two nandos in two nights? Who cares. Give my a halloumi, mango and lime wrap with spicy rice and an extra side of halloumi any day of the week. Can you guess what I'll be eating every day on holiday? Halloumi.

Just as we had gotten over the Christmas calories chocolate 3 months into the year Easter hits us with another tonne of tempting goodness. I'm more about the extras inside rather than the eggs themselves. Weekly treat and respite from the health kick is only right. 

Dungarees. My current obsession is dressing like a 5 year old child because why not. Easy and chic looking. Pair with a polka dot top and you're sorted. Trainers give that more street style look and loafers give you that preppy look. A lot of options and variation from one item of clothing. 

|| Afternoon Tea ||

Left - Marrakech Mint Middle - Love Tea Right - Afternoon

I'm not even going to get into my arm long list of excuses of why I haven't written in a good six months. A lack of motivation and being genuinely fucking scared to post. The blogging world isn't what it was when I started out 7 years ago. I've always been unsure of my own talents and the fact that there are already so many well established bloggers have put me off pushing for my dreams because I feel like a needle in a haystack trying to achieve my dreams. Now before I sit and cry myself into an Alice in Wonderland related situation I'm going to crack on with the main event.

TEA. And lots of it. 

If you looked into my kitchen cupboards you'd pretty much see a whole shelf dedicated to mine and Karl's addiction to tea and coffee. From coffee beans to green tea I've steadily been buying more and more. When you're boyfriend is struggling to get your last few birthday presents give hints, big hints of 'hello, this is nice'. That normally does the trick. Wandering into Whittards of Chelsea just for a look I get tricked into the tasters.. Not even joking when I say this tea smelt like the stuff red velvet cake dreams are made of. 'Love' tea is exactly what it says on the tin. It's the smell I fell in love with and the taste is just as delightful as the sound. 

I feel like loose tea is the way forward. Pure ingredients. I think I picked Love Tea purely for the sweet treat ingredients. A blend based on their red velvet cake infusion tea with an extra sprinkling of sugar hearts to help spread the love. Cocoa kernels, creamy coconut and sugared hazelnuts create a chocolate treat without the calories and raspberries create that sweet summer flavour we all love. This is limited edition so I would run to get your hands on it while you can. (£10)

I popped back in a couple of days later as they had some miniature sets. I had set my sights on Marrakech Mint and Afternoon. A few years back (by a few I mean about 8) I went on a day trip to Morroco and had the most beautifully minty sweet tea. I've been dying to get my hands on a pretty close copy of the original and nothing has cut the mustard. I'm yet still to try this one but if I'm going off the tastes of Love Tea then I'm not going to be disappointed. Also in the pack was Afternoon, a rendition on Breakfast that's supposedly to go with Afternoon tea, hence the name. Now, if that's not an excuse to get the girls around for a possibly boozy and cream cake filled afternoon tea then. I don't know what is! 

Any future recommendations for me? Hit me up via twitter @lauraconveryxo or Instagram @lrcnvry